The European Commission did not file a single lawsuit against Estonia with the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in 2017, it appears from a report presented to the government by Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser (SDE) on Thursday.
"It can be considered significant that the Commission did not file a single lawsuit against Estonia with the court last year, nor did Estonia file any new lawsuits with the ECJ," Mikser said at the government press conference.
According to the minister, the activity of Estonian government institutions and ministries in participating in preliminary ruling procedures to defend positions important to Estonia has increased.
"As an important development, we can point out that seven requests for a preliminary ruling were made by Estonian courts in 2017; this is a new high for any one year," said Kerli Veski, director general of the Legal Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "By way of comparison, a total of 25 preliminary ruling requests have been forwarded to the ECJ since 2004."
As of the end of last year, 33 infringement procedures involving Estonia were ongoing, Veski noted. During the year, 17new infringement procedures involving Estonia were launched and 14 procedures concerning failure to transpose EU law in time closed. None of the infrigement procedures reached the trial phase.
Most of the infringement procedures involving Estonia involved delays in transposing directives, and some involved transposing directives bypassing valid requirements.
The European Commission may launch infringement proceedings against a member state if said state does not agree with the Commission or is unable to implement solutions to imrpove a situation caused by the possible violation of EU law. In the first stage, a memorandum is sent to the state; if a satisfactory reply is not received in response, the Commision in the second stage will send a reasoned opinion to the government of the member state in question. Should this likewise not receive a satisfactory response, the European Commission reserves the right to refer the member state to the ECJ.
Editor: Aili Vahtla